Advice to My Younger Self

I was listening to a podcast just now on regaining weight after losing it. The host asked the guest, if she could go back to a certain age to give advice…. when would she go back to and what advice would she give her younger self… This got me thinking.

I have been overweight since elementary school and have been dieting since that time. That’s one of the “perks” of having older sisters. I was reading Self magazine and admiring tall, thin and lithe bodies like Gabrielle Reese or Veronica Webb since before puberty. I never once thought that I couldn’t look like that if I followed a 1200 calorie plan. I have never liked the way that I look. Never. I have been comparing myself to celebrities and models since the start. When I got my first real crush in college, I started running because I thought that my weight was the only thing holding me back from him liking me. I started running around the track, lost the weight and started putting myself in his line of sight. We never dated. Then I would drink excessively to relax and be more sociable, because men would screw any girl that was there, right? You could blame 90210 and Melrose Place for those ideas. So now, not only was I a problem drinker, but I was eating like crazy to deal with loneliness and shame from drunken escapades. It’s just been a constant cycle of binging and abstinence, never any type of moderation with food or alcohol.

I love to dance which is why I am becoming a certified instructor and teach on the weekends at a church. Dancing allows me to workout every week to stay in some sort of shape and help others stay motivated and in shape. I really don’t like Crossfit, but I like challenging myself. I joined Crossfit to literally whip my body into shape. I loved the results but after being sidelined, I gained some weight back and have been binging ever since. Everything that I do to my body has been to modify the emotions with a substance, get it thinner by starving, making crazy eating rules or exercising until I get injured. I’ve never just loved it for still fucking working. Appreciate it for what it is because it’s as perfect as I’ve allowed it to be. And I should be grateful and I am in this moment.

I have these affirmations on my wall in my kitchen and bathroom that say:

  • I am beautiful
  • I love my body
  • I care about what goes into my body
  • I love myself
  • I care about my body

Is it normal to have to remind yourself of that? Why is my self esteem and self image so distorted? There is no one to blame at this point, but how can I rectify it? I know that finding the answer to this question is the only way to reach a stable and healthy weight. I aspire to love myself and treat my body with TLC. I think it’s time to put my scale away. That’s step #1 for damn sure.

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I’ve changed platforms. You can find my new blog at ——->  Around Your Way Fitness

I will post on the two platforms for a few more posts before heading over there completely. Follow me there

1st Injury and Recovery

Ok. So technically I wasn’t injured doing Crossfit, but I was injured doing a HIIT class at the Crossfit box. I sprained my ankle, mildly, but it got me thinking about what is important in my life. I wasn’t able to teach my dance class on Saturday because I have pain when I put my full weight on my foot. It’s improving with each day and I will be back to 100% by next Saturday.  I fell so deep into the Crossfit and gym buddy culture and mindset, that it’s nice to get a little reprieve, a break from working out. I have been going there  3-5 times per week, and at times taking 2 classes back to back. It was bound to happen.

I got injured in a class that is taught by a coach that isn’t my favorite. Coaches have different personalities and motivation strategies, but this one seems to think that if you say you can’t do it or are struggling, you just aren’t pushing yourself enough. Which is ironic because I usually am out of breath in his class, which is 100% plyometrics, ladder drills and sprints. Plus I paid $225 per month to be there and am taking 7-8 classes per week, believe me I’m trying.

They also all assume that you are trying to get in shape for “the summer” when I’m just trying to get in shape for life. They don’t know that I’ve lost 44lbs so far, so yes I am one of the largest folks in there at a size 14, but I’ve come a distance. Some also don’t pay attention to limitations. But in the end, if you get injured, it’s your fault. Even though folks are screaming at you to go harder, you are supposed to ignore it or tell them that you are having pain. So with that realization…… I’m going to start running my own race and paying attention to what I can and can’t do. I also will only listen to the trainers that I trust. Some trainers see when you are having difficulty and tell you to modify, others tell you to push harder. I’m going to stick to the former teachers from now on.

Can we also talk about peer pressure and gym buddies for a minute? In my previous post, I said you are who you hang out with, BUT if your gym buddy wants to work out 6 days per week, you have to just say no if your body can’t handle it. I’m going back to 4 days a week (S,M,W,TH) and my gym buddies can go together on the days that I can’t.

I started the post saying that I know what is most important now and it’s not working out at the Crossfit gym, it’s my dance class. They were unable to find a substitute for my dance class on Saturday, so due to my decision to take a HIIT class, they were teacherless. The site manager sent me a pic of the ladies dancing to a video of me that one of them recorded in order to practice at home. I am making a difference in these women’s lives, I feel it, and I don’t want to spoil that trying to do suicides sprints and box jumps. This internship, which is over in maybe 3 months, is the top priority for me now and I really need to take care of my body and add more rest to the mix. So I made a new rule, no more HIIT training on Fridays at all so I can be 100% on Saturday.

If I feel OK for the rest of the day, I will return to “the box” tomorrow morning, then rest on Tuesday and then do a double on Wednesday. If my gym buddy says anything, I will just tell her to kick rocks… in the sweetest way possible.

Motivation Monday

When you have a lot of weight to lose, it requires a lot of motivation, not so much willpower. Some folks believe that willpower is not finite, but as someone that has dealt with intense cravings, willpower can only get you so far before you tell yourself, “screw this, I can start again tomorrow or Monday.” For better or worse, weight loss has always been in the forefront of my mind. When I see a new health magazine at my job, I always take it.  I keep a binder filled with weight loss stories, recipes, pictures and I retain any interesting tidbits that the magazine offers. I also post 1-2 pictures of cover models in my kitchen, just as a reminder to stay on track and so I never forget what I’m trying to do. I’ve plateaued for awhile, completely due to poor eating habits, so I brought it up a notch. Phone screensaver. I plan to reach my goal weight by my birthday in October, and I only need to lose 6 lbs per month.

In order to be on schedule, I need to reach 183 by April 1. Seeing this picture on my phone is the reality check that I need when I’m craving a cheat meal or about to go down the road of no return. Every cheat meal matters so I’m trying to limit them to 1-2 per week. This screensaver reminds me to stick to my plan and ever since using this trick, I broke the plateau and am the lowest I’ve been since 2012. If you try it let me know how it works.

What tricks do you use to motivate you for weight loss?

Crossfit

I gained some weight over the holidays due to excessive eating and drinking. I went back to eating better but the weight wasn’t falling like it was before. At 5’3 I have found that the best way for me to lose weight consistently is to exercise but I couldn’t find the motivation to do it. I was instagram and came across this ad for a 6 week crossfit challenge at a gym that was close to my job. So I signed up.

I wanted to be somewhere for 6 weeks in order to get back into the exercise schedule. Even though I want to lose weight, I lack discipline and I often make excuses so this felt like a good solution. And boy was it a solution. Crossfit is the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever encountered in regards to exercise. Has anyone tried it? They focus on functional exercises where you are lifting your body weight, kettlebells and barbells. It’s tough. Mondays workout involved 4 rounds of running 400 km, 10 deadlifts and burpees until time. And it was 30 degrees outside. Studies show that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. But all the muscle in the world can’t counter a bad diet. I like crossfit because of the community aspect. I already made a friend and everyone that is a newbie like me is always in shock of the next f*ed up thing they are going to have us do. My goal is to make 1-2 more friends and exchange numbers.

After this challenge is done I think I might actually buy some classes from this gym. I like being challenged and I need to lose more weight. I’m going to set up an appointment to see a nutritionist again because if I’m going to be exercising, I want to make sure that I’m eating as clean as possible and getting proper nutrients on this plant based meal plan. I know that I will lose weight quickly if I:

  • exercise consistently
  • drink 8+cups of water per day
  • sleep 7+hours per night
  • limit processed foods and sugar
  • cut off alcohol

If I plan on reaching my goal weight in 6 months, I need to follow these steps. I plan to do a post on discipline in the near future. A lot of the advice is usually “just do it”, use the 5 second rule, or live like the person that you want to be.

 

Making Moves

On Saturday I taught my first cardio dance class and I can honestly say that it was the best day of my life. To think that I could create an hours worth of choreography and teach it to people in order for them to get in shape is amazing. It really put a lot of things in perspective, including my j-o-b. (I call it a j-o-b because it’s not my career and it finances my life)

My j-o-b eats at my core. The interactions that I have with patients affects me in such a way that it’s not healthy. The conversations stay with me, the complaints, the annoyances. No one is ever happy because they are in pain and I’m tired of dealing with them. All of the office managers in my practice feel the same way, but unlike others I no longer want to push down my emotions. That’s how I got to 234 lbs.  I’m taking some steps to go forward in my health professional journey, this job is bound to limit me by chipping away at my life force. I’m not going to share my plans with a lot of people because I don’t want anyone to talk me out of it. Sometimes when you tell coworkers that you want to leave, they try to convince you because they don’t want to be alone. In August I will have been there for 6 years at a job I dislike. Of course there are good aspects of it, mostly the money and coworkers, but it’s not worth it anymore.

My ideal outcome for 6 months- By August 1

  • Get a new full time j-o-b to pay the bills (hopefully it will be in the health industry so it could be a step towards a career)
  • Continue to improve as a fitness instructor, have a booming class and get Zumba certified
  • Reach my goal weight
  • Get a boyfriend (I had to throw that in there. I can’t be too career focused)
  • Get paid as a health coach by at least 2 clients
  • Start a meetup group

I created a private group on Facebook where I’m going to post motivational posts, diet advice and vegan inspiration. Once I get more posts up I plan to start telling people in my class. I’m REALLY excited about the future and I haven’t felt this way in awhile.

I hope everyone is doing well.

 

 

Fitness Midterms

I found this post in my drafts.  I never hit submit but just reading it, I’m brought back to this night and I can feel the happiness that I felt. It was like the feeling I felt the night of my midterms when I realized I did really well and people liked what I did. It was euphoric.

Old post—

My (“free”) fitness instructor training is mixed with people that want to teach bootcamp, strength training, chair fitness, yoga and dance cardio. Over the past 4 weeks we have been learning only about strength exercises and teaching exercise modifications. So I was shocked to learn that I have a midterm on Tuesday in my genre which is dance fitness! I have been waking up at 5am for the past 2 days,  doing choreography and I have 2 songs finished. The midterm involves teaching our class of 30 for no more than 15 mins, including a warm-up. I plan to create my warm up tonight before I go to a Zumba master class (I’m sleepy), and to create one more routine tomorrow morning. Then over the next 5 days I will work on cueing (saying right instead of left),  making sure that the choreography for the three songs is not repetitive and that I smile and say positive things. I’m also going to do a dress rehearsal on a coworker on Tuesday.

I must say that when I came home last night I was happy. Like truly happy. We broke up into small groups last night and I taught 2 women the dance I created yesterday morning and they were sweating a lot. They said it was good and I felt it was great, of course there were issues with direction, but it wasn’t that bad. I know it’s not brain surgery, but for once in my life I can say, my medical office manager job is not who I am. There is more to me than that and for once, I am starting to see that I have potential apart from working for a doctor and ordering his lunch. I am creative and I am a vault of fitness knowledge, correcting people that were doing the grapevine or squats incorrectly and making suggestions on updating their warmups for better transitions… I literally don’t know what is coming together, but universe, I AM READY!

 

I’m Back!!

Whew… Where have I been? Well I have been a mad woman these past few weeks, literally. Things are looking up, yet staying the same. I’m trying to navigate the waters and trying to decide what is the next step.

Fitness Instructor Training– The program was successfully completed this past Tuesday! I had a final last week which included teaching a class and multiple choice test. I was a nervous wreck. Over the past few months, I’ve really learned a lot about myself. I don’t handle stress too well. It affects my sleeping, I drink more and I am constantly on edge, probably due to the drinking and sleeping less. I get it done in the end but everything suffers, including my appearance. I passed the class, so I am officially in a 6 month internship starting in Jan/Feb. I will be teaching a class every Saturday which will be great for me because it will limit Friday night happy hours. I have my playlist down and about 75% done. I need to just fine tune it and clean it up but I still have…

Statistics– Yes. This beast is still on my back and I’m taking the final on Dec 17. I want to get a A- in the class, however to qualify for tuition reimbursement I think I need a C. I’m currently at B level if I get EVERY QUESTION RIGHT on the exam. I started studying. I’m giving myself more time to prepare than the midterm which should be better because I won’t have to prepare an exercise routine that’s due at the same time. It’s just a hard class for me, the theories seem convoluted, the class is online, but I need to focus. This is my last class in my program, I need to pull through and like Tim Gunn says.. Make it Work. Tomorrow is my job’s holiday party. After that, I’m not drinking until after the final so my mind is clear and all the wires are firing at 100%. I’m making cheat sheets as we speak and rereading all of the information.

Weight Loss– I’ve plateaued. I made a friend in my instructor training course and we have been working out a lot. I started taking dance classes, like Samba and belly dancing. I don’t think I’m overcompensating with calories by eating, but I’ve (honestly) increased my alcohol intake which was at zero when I was losing weight the fastest. I also stopped the extra lunch time cardio I was doing during my lunch hour because work became a mess. I just feel burnt out. I constantly feel in a state of mild exhaustion. When I don’t focus, I say stupid things, like the wrong day or that I don’t understand what reproachful means, or I’m smart enough to figure it out from the context.<—– see brains. I know it’s my fault because my self care has gone out the window. I need to focus on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water.

Work– Work, work work. What is there to say. My job is one that I can do and as of right now there is some level of security, but I dislike it a lot. I asked for an increase in bonus and my boss said yes. It was a crazy year with the drama with the hiring and firing of the assistant. This job is just so not what I want to do long term, if at all. I loved being in the instructor training program. Being with folks that cared about fitness, discussing it. I realized that even though I sound like an idiot sometimes at work, when it comes to fitness and exercising I am an encyclopedia. I love making up dances and teaching it and will definitely make that a side job once I get certified. But what about the full time job… I have a wellness job search going and I get notices when positions open up and there are so many great jobs out there. I think once I get my Public health certificate and start teaching, I can put that on my resume. That way employers can see that I am serious about this. The end goal of course is to be a Health Coach and helping people lose weight.

The struggle is real. I won’t even get into dating now. That will be a post for another day…

So my plan until next week to get back track is to

  1. Drink 11 glasses of water per day (it’s recommended that we drink half of our body weight in ounces per day. Since I am 185, that is 92.5 ounces which is 11.56 glasses. I rounded down for sanity purposes).
  2. 7 hours of sleep. At the beginning of the semester I was in bed at 10-10:30. Now it’s 11-12. I need to get up at 6am to have a productive day so I need to start getting ready for bed at 9:45 pm. Have my Epsom salt bath (I will do a post on this soon) at 10 pm, and lights out by 10:30 pm.
  3. Limit TV. Not sure how I found the time, but I’ve made it through 7 seasons of Criminal Minds this semester…. From now on I can only watch TV, movies or frivolous YouTube videos when I am beautifying myself or cooking, because if I’m not multitasking, I’m really wasting time. Plus it might give me some inspiration to paint my nails or twist my hair more often.
  4. Stick to my exercise and food plan. Studies show that deviating from a plan lowers yourself esteem and your ability to follow through in the future. Which is why missing 1 gym class in a week, can lead to missing 4 classes, or is that just me? They say it’s better to aim low and achieve it, than aim high and miss it.

So those are my 4 goals for next week really, but I’m starting now, because I don’t believe in waiting for tomorrow or Monday. I always say, when you decide to start something, start immediately at the next meal or even the next bite!

Happy Friday!!